BLA Christmas Event – Social Media in Libraries

Last year (ahem – well this is amnesty week!) I attended the BLA Christmas Event – Social Media in Libraries. Held at Regent’s University College, it was nice to see an old colleague and also to meet famous faces from the world of Library Social Media!

We were sent some pre-event reading in the form of a white paper from Taylor & Francis entitled, ‘Use of social media by the library: current practices and future opportunities.’ If anyone from the Social Media group wants to read it, let me know.

The key points of the paper were:

  • 70% of libraries use social media, so using it is no longer optional. It is now a must have.
  • 60% have had social media accounts for 3 years or longer.
  • Key uses are for promotion, collection management and outreach/learning.

The workshop was run by Georgina Cronin from Judge Business School library.  Having compiled a report comparing Cass social media to that of other business school libraries, I knew that Judge is considered a pioneer in the use of social media. So it was going to be interesting to get tips from someone who runs a successful social media presence.

One of the first exercises looked at which social media platforms people enjoyed using the most and least.

  • Facebook easiest to use.
  • Pinterest raised some difficulties, such as copyright. Someone did mention that they used Pinterest for showing off their library refurbishment, neatly bypassing the whole copyright issue by using their own photos.
  • Other favourites were Tumblr, Instagram and Slideshare.

Georgina then gave a presentation about the different platforms available and the best way to use them. These included:


  • 80% of active users, access via mobile devices.
  • So, don’t use Twitter for non-mobile friendly content.
  • Twitter is good for: images, links, research, hashtags.
  • Best times to tweet: lunchtime, 4-5pm.


  • 50% of 18-24 year olds check Facebook before they get up.
  • Bad for formal engagement, students see it as ‘non-work.’
  • Good for images, link and fun stuff.


  • 6 million new posts per day.
  • Good for text, images and resource sharing.

You Tube

  • 1 billion unique visitors per month.
  • How to/educational videos are the second most popular category.


  • 70 million + users.
  • Good for collating images.
  • Not good for open sharing – membership is needed.


  • 60 million unique visitors per month.
  • Good for sharing resources and training info.
  • Bad for outreach on its own. Needs to be used in collaboration with another platform.


  • 200 million monthly active accounts.
  • Good for social content and highlighting services.
  • Bad for text based info.


Georgina then looked at how to create good and sustainable content:

  • Humanise your library – not just professional info.
  • Make it interesting, post what people care about.
  • Encourage engagement, let us know what you think and run competitions.


  • Make content fit the platform.
  • Different content for different platforms.
  • Make the message different for each platform.
  • Users on different platforms combined = large group.
  • Small number of users on each platform adds up to wider coverage.

You can view the presentation here on Slideshare.

By Tamise


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